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Bull Elephants join the herd at Samara Private Game ReserveBy Jenny McFadyen, Samara Private Game Reserve
Two bull elephants, originally from Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, have been released into Samara Private Game Reserve – the first bull elephants to return to the Plains of Camdeboo in 150 years. This follows the successful release of six female elephants into the reserve in October 2017 – a historic translocation.
“We have been so pleased with how the founder herd of female elephant have settled at Samara. We monitor their behaviour and movements closely, with a full-time monitor provided by the NGO Elephants, Rhinos & People (erp.ngo), who also co-funded the translocation to Samara and the satellite collar on the sub-matriarch.” says Sarah Tompkins of Samara Private Game Reserve.
Crucially, the translocation of the two bulls will enhance the social structure of Samara’s elephant population.
The knowledge that elephant bulls are highly social creatures informed the decision to introduce two bulls so that they could enjoy each other’s company.
Sarah, who founded Samara Private Game Reserve with her husband Mark 21 years ago, has long held a vision of restoring the area to its original state. “Before early farmers and settlers eradicated the Karoo’s wildlife, it boasted a wonderfully rich biodiversity, and was home to species like cheetah, rhino, Cape lion, springbok and elephant,” Sarah comments. Thanks to the Tompkins’ dedication, and the conservation ethos which remains at Samara’s heart, their vision is steadily becoming a reality.